How can we tackle the obesity crisis?

How can we tackle the obesity crisis?

The obesity crisis took a new turn this weekend, as a new report revealed that nothing less than a cross-sector, 5-10 year strategy is required to tackle the problem.

‘Careless eating costs lives’ grasps the extent of the obesity explosion and sets out the essential responses to halting progression and reversing the drastic effects of overweight on individual health, employment, social care and even the wider economy.

Such is the scale and breadth of the problem, the report from 2020health recommends that all new policies be reviewed and assessed against an ‘obesity test’, meaning that all government departments need to consider the impact of proposed policy on eating behaviour and public health to ensure it does not compound the obesity crisis.

Julia Manning, Chief Executive of 2020health said, “Piecemeal solutions have been tried in the past and shown to be inadequate. According to the WHO we are the fat-man of Europe and this has severe consequences for us as a nation. Unless we have a cross-cutting strategy that everyone from the government down takes seriously, obesity will continue to rise and be devastating for both individuals and the nation.

“Our research has shown that hand-in-hand with obesity is widespread confusion over what constitutes healthy eating and a rise in malnutrition. We have a culture of excess and but there is no single reason for our obesity problem, and its fallacious to suggest otherwise.

“This report is not the final word; we need to undertake more research into the efficacy of taxes, the role of the employer, food production, the environment and individual circumstances in combating obesity.”

Recommendations from the report include tax incentives for larger business to make wellbeing provision, like gym facilities, available to smaller local business. New licensing to be introduced for fast food outlets to control the location and numbers of them in a local community.

Other ideas include clear disclosure of calories per items on restaurants, a ban on advertising of unhealthy foods aimed at children being extended from 7am to 9pm.

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